Banbury postal service in disarray as staff leave and mail is left undelivered

Customers are complaining that Banbury postal service is in disarray as staff leave and mail is left undelivered.
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People living in Banbury and surrounding villages say mail they expected is taking weeks to be delivered – in one case details of a penalty that was going to be far more costly because of delay had not arrived.

Householders on social media have complained about waiting three or four weeks for expected mail while postmen and women have returned from holiday to find their entire week or fortnight’s mail still to be delivered.

The Banbury Guardian highlighted the ‘chaos’ at Banbury sorting office in March amid reports that agency staff were being dismissed and an overtime ban in force. Banbury sorting office was, at that time, ranked as one of the worst-performing in the country.

Banbury sorting office which is coming under attack for struggling to deliver mailBanbury sorting office which is coming under attack for struggling to deliver mail
Banbury sorting office which is coming under attack for struggling to deliver mail

Royal Mail (RM) said at the time they wanted to protect the postal service’s separation from a ‘gig-economy’ delivery operation but posties believe they are prioritising parcels at the expense of the normal letters mail. RM denied there were staffing problems. However in an updated story about delivery delays in August the service said it was recruiting with new staff, expected shortly.

At that time we could see no jobs advertised for Banbury on the RM website.

One postie said: “Jobs are being advertised but they are for parcels operating times – 10am/11.30am – 6pm, not for post delivery services. They’re jobs which don’t carry the same terms and conditions as old established staff get.

"A lot of people have left including one really good manager who’s had enough. Mail is stacking up and even tracked mail is being left when a worker has a day off.”

One person on a Facebook discussion said over 20 delivery rounds did not go out one Saturday in late August. Another said tracking their parcel declared repeatedly it was ‘out for delivery’ but never arrived.

The Royal Mail website says first class mail should be delivered within one or two days.

The Banbury Guardian asked Royal Mail to be clear about what the business plan is for Royal Mail; what direction the business is travelling in; precisely what advertising has been done to appoint more daily post delivery staff and how many positions the service has lost and are seeking to fill.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “I can certainly say we do not operate a policy of prioritising any mail in our delivery offices. It is all treated as equal and delivered accordingly.

“At the delivery office we have had a recruitment plan in place as we assured you when we last issued a statement. This has resulted in new staff with new entrants expected this week and next week.

“We are sorry to residents who have experienced delays. We have plans in place to drive service levels and ensure customers receive the levels of service they expect. Ensuring mail is delivery reliably and on time is our top priority and we are working to make that the case.”

The spokesman said Royal Mail has four recruits with the addition of a further one expected. They will be working the later hours, from 10am – 11.30am to 6pm.

Many on social media said they had been forced to visit the sorting office in Banbury to collect expected mail.